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Effects of Cladding Material on Irradiation Performance of Monolithic Mini-Plates

[+] Author Affiliations
Hakan Ozaltun

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. ICONE24-60120, pp. V001T02A009; 12 pages
  • 2016 24th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Operations and Maintenance, Aging Management and Plant Upgrades; Nuclear Fuel, Fuel Cycle, Reactor Physics and Transport Theory; Plant Systems, Structures, Components and Materials; I&C, Digital Controls, and Influence of Human Factors
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5001-5
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Monolithic, plate-type fuels are the proposed fuel form for the conversion of the research and test reactors to achieve higher uranium densities within the reactor core. This fuel type is comprised of a low enrichment, a high density U-10Mo alloy fuel-foil, which is sandwiched between diffusion barriers and encapsulated in a cladding material. To understand the irradiation performance, fuel-plates are being benchmarked for large number of parameters. In this work, effects of the cladding material were studied. In particular, a monolithic fuel-plate with U7Mo foil and Zry-4 cladding was simulated to explore feasibility of using Zircaloy as a surrogate cladding material. For this, a selected mini-plate from RERTR-7 tests was simulated first with as-run irradiation history. By using same irradiation parameters, a second case, a plate with U10Mo fuel and Al6061 cladding was simulated to make a comparative assessment. The results indicated that the plate with Zircaloy cladding would operate roughly 50 °C hotter compared with the plate with Aluminum cladding. Larger displacement profiles along the thickness for the plate with Zircaloy cladding were observed. Higher plastic strains occur for the plate with Aluminum cladding. The results have revealed that any pre-irradiation stresses would be relieved relatively fast in reactor and the fuel-foil would be essentially stress-free during irradiation. The fuel stresses however, develop at reactor shutdown. The plate with Zircaloy cladding would have higher residual stresses due to higher pre-shutdown temperatures. Similarly, the stresses magnitudes are higher in the foil core for the plates with Zircaloy cladding. Finally, pressure on the fuel is significantly higher for the plates with Zircaloy cladding. Overall, employing a Zircaloy as surrogate cladding material did not provide a better thermo-mechanical performance compared with the Aluminum cladding.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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